Friday, January 18, 2013

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Closed Systems and Catholic Teaching about Disordered Gays

One of the good droppings: Swiss Benedictine abbot Peter von Sury maintains that the Catholic church today is suffering serious malaise because it has become a "closed system" in which only like-minded insiders rise to the top levels of ecclesial governance and those with alternative perspectives are ruthlessly excluded. And so,

A closed system is not capable of accepting criticism or correction from outside. Perhaps it will have to break down one day or disintegrate before something happens. Or it will run out of money and then it will automatically come to a standstill.

And then one of the really bad droppings:

In response to Holloway's insightful observation in this Commonweal thread that "if the church is saying a same-sex orientation is 'disordered', it cannot claim that it is open and welcoming," Mark Proska asks Holloway if she agrees 

with the Church’s teaching that we are all born with desires that can lead us away from God?

And, of course, neither the Catechism of the Catholic Church nor any other magisterial document ever once says that heterosexual people are born with disordered desires precisely because they're born heterosexual.

But it does plainly say this about homosexual people. 

And so Holloway's observation that the Catholic church has a serious welcoming problem when it comes to LGBT people stands, and Mark Proska's response is pretty shameful in its attempt to deny the plain truth about the different way in which church teaching classifies gay and straight people, and in its mendacious pretense that the church regards and treats straight folks the same way it treats gay ones.

Which brings me to Abbot von Sury's point: yes, I think many of us who are gay and lesbian Catholics definitely do think the closed system now predominating in our church's leadership circles will have to break down or disintegrate before the church can begin to function as the welcoming, affirming, all-inclusive community of love it's called to be.

I also suspect many non-gay Catholics think the same, due to their own experiences with the closed system now in place at top levels of church leadership.

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